James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Elias & Elijah & TCD

The brothers Elias and Elijah were always very close (photo); Elijah helped collect information for Elias’s book on Welsh folklore and they shared an interest in antiquary. The patterns of their lives were very similar; initially they were teachers, then both obtained degrees from Trinity College, Dublin before both going into the Church. Elijah enrolled just over a year after Elias who enrolled in October 1868, obtaining his BA on June 28th 1871 and MA in the spring of 1878. Both were almost certainly steamboat men, unlike their brother Timothy who was definitely a resident student. Elias’s obituaries in the North Wales Chronicle and in the Montgomeryshire Collections indicate that he studied as a 'steamboat man'; the latter states "His first and only appointment as Head Master was at Llanllechid, near Bangor; where he read for a degree at Trinity College, Dublin". Further, his occupation in the 1871 census is given as "Schoolmaster/ Undergraduate of Trinity College Dublin".

Trinity College Dublin

In most Universities, students were obliged to attend lectures throughout the year. Trinity College students could keep terms by being present only at the term examinations - many undergraduates living in England did so and they were called 'steamboat men'. Evidence suggests that Elias and Elijah may well have been ‘steamboat men’. It was a stimulating period for theological study. Darwin was propounding his theory of evolution, which, together with other scientific discoveries, forced a radical reappraisal of some sections of the Bible.

Elias’s obituary in the North Wales Chronicle, adds: "…. During his University career of two and a half years, he carried off many prizes, more especially in divinity …. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1890, and it is an open secret that in the course of the next few months he was to have had conferred on him the degree of LL.D. (honoris causa) of his old University."